QUESTION: When you approach your people and discuss the fact that every prophecy from the prophets that foretold the Messiah was fulfilled in Jesus, how can they not believe that he was the Messiah?
ANSWER: Your question assumes that the person so approached has met four conditions. The first is that the individual believes the Jewish Scriptures are the Word of God. The second condition is that he or she knows and can delineate those messianic prophecies, i.e., he or she knows that they exist and can discern what they mean. The third condition is that he or she knows that Jesus fulfilled those prophecies. Very few Jewish people today know the Old Testament Scriptures at all, let alone the messianic prophecies. Fewer still understand that Jesus fulfilled them.
The fourth condition is that the individual’s heart must have been moved by the Holy Spirit of God. If you read through the second chapter of I Corinthians, you will discover that no one can know anything of God except that it is disclosed to them by the Holy Spirit. The most important verse in that chapter is verse 14: But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them because they are spiritually discerned.”
In dealing with the field of Jewish evangelism, one factor to be grappled with is that God sent a judicial spiritual blindness upon Israel, even as he foretold in Isaiah 6, Isaiah 59:10, Matthew 15:14, II Corinthians 3:14, II Corinthians 4:4 and a number of other verses that verify this. It is not that individual Israelites are blinded, but according to Paul’s writings in Romans 11:25-26, partial blindness has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.
In Acts 17:4, we read that some Jews in Thessalonica believed, as well as some “devout Greeks” who are thought to have been proselytes to Judaism. But there was an adverse reaction from those Jews who did not believe, so Paul moved on to the synagogue at Berea and studied the Scriptures with them. Again, in Athens, he went to the synagogue and grappled with the philosophers there. He did not stop trying, though he often met with more resistance than success.
Because of this partial blindness, we, too, expect that only a comparatively few Jewish people will believe in Christ at this time. But, like Paul, we must keep trying. We must get the gospel to those few.